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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Song Series: You Never Let Go

You Never Let Go God

Read: Romans 8

If God be for us, who can be against us? - Romans 8:31

No one asks for pain's presence, it always comes uninvited. However, we stand, knowing that pain can't push away God's nail pierced hand, because He will never let go and he will always hold us even when we don't hold Him.

Christian song writer & Londoner, Matt Redman and his wife, Beth, intimately understand this reality because no one, not even those who are mightily used by God through song & verse are protected from suffering. You see, Beth experienced a miscarriage the week of July 7, 2005. And, as if to nail home an already tragic and overwhelming sense of loss, that same week terrorists claimed the lives of more than 30 innocent people on the the London transit system. Yet it was in pain's presence that Matt responded to these tragedies. You see, God used that pain to move Matt in writing the song "You Never Let Go". Matt references (Psalm 23:4) where the psalmist declares "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Thou art with me." Matt knows that God never stopped walking with him. He always walks with His children as the God who is kind, caring, and still in control regardless of the circumstances.

During our worship team's last practice we read from (1 John 4:18) after singing through the song "You Never Let Go "We reminded ourselves that "perfect love casts out fear" and how God being love is perfecting His love in us. We went on to discuss (Romans 8:31) that tells us "If God is for us, who can be against us", and finished with (Romans 8:38) affirming that we too are "convinced...neither death, life, angels, principalities, things present, things to come, nor powers, height, depth, or anything created, will separate us fro the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus." We are determined to live for Him and in Him longing for the day of His appearing.

But that said, we still feel pain's presence from time to time as it pushes it blackened tentacles toward the soft parts of our hearts. This week, Luz Mourino, a vocalist on our team, lost her brother through a terrible turn of events. We mourn with her and her family...pains presence is real. However, we are confident that NOTHING will separate Luz's brother from His Jesus. In fact, he is seeing Him face to face right now! We are part of an unshakable kingdom, Christ is our Sovereign, heaven is our home, and He will NEVER let go of us until the day we finally say good-bye to earthly pain and hello to Him.

Oh no You never let go, Through the calm and through the storm.

Oh no You never let go, In ev'ry high and ev'ry low.

Oh no You never let go, Lord You never let go of me.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Quiet Time: The Real Thing

The Real Thing

Each week, my daughter picks up Gracie from the day care for a busy urbinite couple. Gracie is their two year old daughter, and she is "sweeter than puddin'" to coin a phrase. Well, as God would have it, this little girl taught me a valuable lesson on Super Bowl Sunday.

You see, Gracie wanted some milk, so Candice filled her little sippy cup with Almond Milk and handed it back to her. Gracie took a big swig and stopped mid gulp. Her cheeks bulged out like Dizzy Gillespie playing Ool-Ya-Koo! There was no doubt that Gracie fully understood: the stuff in her mouth was cold like milk, it was white like milk, and even smelled like milk, but it was NOT M.I.L.K.! She may have been only two, but she already knew the difference between the real thing and a wanna be.
Now, I don't know about you, but sometimes (not often, thank you LORD) church seems a lot like almond milk to me. When it comes to leading praise and worship, I sometimes find myself getting caught up in the mechanism of music instead of loosing myself in the wonder of worship. And before I realize it, I've replaced an intimate God moment with a cold man made substitute that leaves me looking for a place to spit.
My hearts desire is to become a looser. I want to loose myself in true and raptured worship of the Father each time I sing His praise. The alternative is bulging cheeks and as Gracie so aptly pointed out, there aint no substitute for the real thing.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Song Series: Sing Sing Sing

 Sing Sing Sing (His Name)
by Chris Tomlin and band
Read: 2 Chronicles 5:12-14

...they praised the Lord saying, "He indeed is good for His loving-kindness is everlasting," then the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud...
2 Chronicles 5:13-14
Like most parents, Deseri and I considered carefully the names we would choose for our children. We named the eldest, Candice, which means "glowing". At her baby dedication we spoke a blessing over her declaring that she would, "glow for God in word and deed." As she grew we often encouraged her to give glory to God in all that she did. Matthew, our youngest name means "gift from God". At his dedication, we held him up before the Lord and said, "You are a dedicated son of a dedicated son. Your name means gift from God. A gift from God you are and gift to God you have become." Both children came to know Christ as their personal Savior and Lord at a very young age and are continuing to glorify Him through walks of faith and service.

Today, Candice leads worship as part of The Palms Community worship team and and Matt often works with the tech side behind the scenes for our team as needed and enjoys worshiping at The Crossing Church. We pray that God will continue build His temple within their hearts.

Second Chronicles tells what happened at the dedication of the King Solomon's temple. When the vocalists and instrumentalists began praising the name of the Lord and exalting His attributes, God showed up. I mean He visibly showed up! The same cloud which represented His presence in the midst of His people by filling the tabernacle of Moses in the wilderness, was now filling the temple in Jerusalem. The priest were actually so overwhelmed that they had to stop ministering. God was in the house and all anyone could do at that point was to simply worship Him.

We need to consider carefully the names God uses to describe His glory and character. We know that the same God Who filled the temple in Solomon's day and filled the tabernacle in Moses', is the same God Who desires to fill our hearts today. However, I believe, that in order for our hearts to be permeated with His presence we must allow Him to push out everything that impedes His praise.

We can learn to pray the names of Jesus and His attributes. The Navigators have a link that may help:

Finally, for those of you who like to know the story behind a song, here's a link for "Sing Sing Sing" by Chris Tomlin telling how he and his band developed it together.


Verse 1
You are the Love that frees us
You are the Light that leads us
Like a Fire burning
Son of God You are the One
You are the One
We're living for!

Song Series: Song Related Devotions

Beginning today, I'll start posting my personal devotions as they relate to the songs our worship team are working through. The first song will be "Sing Sing Sing" by Chris Tomlin. Feel free to share these song stories and bible studies with your teams or use them as a catalyst to get your own quiet time moving.